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Old 05-30-2011, 10:54 PM   #1
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Hi i just got my first '91 miata last night. super HAPPY
i have purchased this miata with one condition which is the starting problem.
i have to push start it to run...
just would like to get suggestions if its the key ignition, starter...etc
battery is new. any suggestions will help thanks!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:11 PM   #2
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In order of likeliness:

-battery
-starter
-ignition switch

Check in that order.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:26 PM   #3
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thanks!
battery: even if its new it might be weak right?
starter: i heard that banging the starter helps... does it?
ignition switch: the key? i did take out the key switch solenoid thing and cleaned it...

but this helps! thanks again!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:46 PM   #4
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There's a few things to check. On my 90 the signal wire for the starter kept falling off. Simple fix, but something to check.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:55 PM   #5
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Chances are it's not the battery. The ecu needs about 9.6v to work, so if the battery was dead the ecu wouldn't work. The battery is easy enough to check so I would check it anyway. Starter would be my first guess. Jump a wire from the large bolt to the small bolt on the starter with the ignition on in neutral. If it starts it's a battery cable, or ignition switch problem.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:23 AM   #6
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what does it do when you try to start it? does it turn over? does it click? does it not do a damn thing at all?
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:25 AM   #7
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broken clutch switch?

take jumper cables and hook the battery straight to the starter. it should spin.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:09 AM   #8
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wow, thanks for all the support! better/faster feedbacks than when i had a 240 and 240 forums...lol
okay where is the signal wire coming from? ill check all the wires that connect to the starter...
when i try to turn the key i think i hear something from the trunk... but i do hear a click kinda sound from the hood... but it doesnt do any thing...
i did clean the ignition key assembly.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:16 AM   #9
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Sounds like a dead/dying starter.
Get a stick/ peice of wood.
Place wood on starter body. Have someone try to crank the motor while you tap on the starter.

I tapped the wood with a hammer.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:12 AM   #10
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The sound from behind you might be the fuel pump cycling. The click under the hood might be the starter solenoid engaging. I would jump the solenoid wires with a screwdriver to see if it spins over. I would likely just remove the starter and replace it.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:42 PM   #11
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thanks this is really helpful! so whats the best way to check the starter with out pulling it out? and is it better to get a new one or rebuild?
thanks.
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:13 PM   #12
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I'd just buy one at the local parts store, or rockauto if you can wait. Like previously mentioned, tap on the starter with a hammer while some holds the key in the crank position.

It's an awful crude method, but if the starter suddenly starts working while you're tapping on it, you know it's on its way out. I've successfully diagnosed at least 3 cars this way. If that doesn't work, go into actual diagnostic work, like other have mentioned (jumping contacts, etc).

It could also be a VERY dead battery, but a battery with any kind of charge would at least try to do SOMETHING. If your battery was totally shot, it may only have enough juice to do what it's doing. But I doubt it as you said it's new, unless you've been out on the car eating up the new battery's charge all day. My money is on the starter.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:04 AM   #13
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okay today i tried to jump the car with a battery jumper thingy. still the same... so next i moved on to remove the starter but wth... cant remove the farthest bolt by the firewall... and also the lowest bracket bolt... any easy ways by experience??
thanks guys!
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:13 AM   #14
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Busting your knuckles is the easiest way
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:23 AM   #15
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It isn't difficult with box-end wrenches on one side and an air impact wrench with an extension on the other. You may substitute a 1/2 inch drive ratchet for the air impact if you are poor. Harbor Freight Tools are cheap and quite adequate. Buying tools of the proper design for the job is worthwhile as you will keep and use them for decades.

Disconnect the positive wire from the battery before attempting to remove the starter or you might experience unintended excitement.
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:43 AM   #16
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Also check your battery ground wire, they tend to beak. You will get dash lights but as soon as you try to crank you will get nothing
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